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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale


On April Fools’ Day 2018 – which was also Easter Sunday – I fittingly put an end to my madness. That was in terms of my meagre attempt to have some of my own plumage on show came to an end; it was a welcome purging.

Perhaps more undermining than the limp excuse for a moustache that I had limply been sporting, was the fact that it was no more than a consumption of several seconds to free myself of the ugly decoration that decorated the skin between my nose and mouth. This flirtation came to a welcome end to most of my closest.

In beautiful old hindsight, it just cringe-worthy. Still, being a male fast – with a more than welcome attitude, I might add – approaching 30 with a more than open willingness to experiment, I felt that my ripening must have extended to allowing me to command some more than wispy whiskers. It was something that I felt that I should have tried, at least once, before my twenties came to their full ember.

Well it hadn’t really. Or at all you could say. Bum-fluff is just not something that I’ve been able to grow out of entirely. This never much bothered me and certainly wasn’t a real cause for any resentment… Well, only slightly thinking of how that when my voice broke, I was as good as the same height I am now and I felt like the odd one out having hair under my arms in the PE changing toom; all before I was officially old enough to be called a teenager. To think, Some irony now in that one of my favourite things to watch was ShortChange on CBBC after school!

To contextualise how this fad or even farce came about in the end, it was as a result of enjoying the best part of a month over the summer exploring some of South East Asia and feeling that backpacking was prime excuse to shelve shaving of a while. Indeed, I still do not feel that the first efforts were too bad. The display was almost on a par with the paltry quality of my side-burn things from years past; an acquired taste, if I’m being generous.

Though, this first vague attempt at executing a beard was in fact even met with some compliments (I grant, they were quite sparse and seldom). It was easy to take of; no more shaving cuts at ha, many people even assumed that I must have it 'styled'. Rather than the actual truth, that my growth is just not particularly well spread! Nature’s cruelty as a mistress can pay-off at times, I suppose.

Perhaps the feelings of antipathy towards facial hair were largely the off-shoot of a defensiveness and even resentment that I had built-up of not being able to spout any worthy competition. There is even something even rather primitive, in an almost animalistic sense – which at the crux if it we are all after all – In attracting mates in flaunting almost masculine more dominating displays of ourselves; think peacock.

I live in Hoxton and any efforts that I should have of not becoming a fully-fledged Shoreditch Wanker, are only exacerbated by the truth that I saw no natural expiration date of the thin beard. I had even ashamedly had it professionally groomed #theshame.

It was on the penultimate day of the holiday that my girlfriend and I had taken to India, where at the offset of my first day after her departure (I had intended to extend my trip through visiting a friend in Pakistan, but alas I’d resigned for my trip to end in Kochi, just a day or two behind Sarah). The hostel that I was staying asked me if I’d like a part in a Mollywood – Sothern India’s equivalent of Bollywood – film.

Of course, I did. Although I cannot recall, if I ever had a real clue, the plot or title of the film that I would be it was within a colonial era, as I was just asked to have my beard turned into a moustache. Far from having the artistic clout or license to question this, I happily obliged.

Interestingly, whatever scene was shot of me was cut and never made it into any film. One of the contemporary actors was quite character; lived with his Indian wife somewhere in the subcontinent and was an actual real American devout Trump supporter. Takes all sorts and they must all come from somewhere, but perhaps these were just precursors of hat poor taste my…. Face thing was. It was definitely genuine as you would not have paid for it, but calling it a fully blown moustache would be a stretch.

What’s done is done. Tried and tested, I do not believe that there’s any point in holding regrets. Can’t envisage myself attempting another beard in the near future. Can impede eating for one thing and this is a joy that I could never compromise.

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